B.A. in Zoology (Ohio Wesleyan University)
M.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (University of Florida)
Ph.D. in Biology (University of Florida)
postdoc - Evolutionary Functional Genomics unit at The Biodesign Institute (Arizona State University)
I initially trained as an evolutionary ecologist with a focus on functional morphology in avian and insect systems. During my post-doc, I transitioned to molecular evolution. I also have over 10 years of experience as an aviculturist and zookeeper at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio (working large cats, hoofstock and birds) and conducting reproductive research on captive birds at Disney's Discovery Island birdpark in Orlando, Florida.
Cell and Molecular Biology for Engineers I and II
I am a broadly-trained molecular evolutionary biologist with a primary interest in exploring the molecular interface between gene and environment at the level of chromatin. I combine comparative genomics/epigenomics with computer simulation to identify where natural selection has acted upon the molecular evolution of chromatin. Transcriptional gene regulation is undoubtedly a primary target of adaptive evolutionary changes in phenotype. However, molecular mechanisms governing eukaryotic gene regulation in chromatin are only now becoming understood. This is not due to lack of interest on the part of biologists, but rather to a lack of a clearly defined functional organization in regulatory sequences themselves, making it difficult to predict the effects of single mutation events on regulatory function. To overcome this, I employ biophysical models of DNA-protein interaction and DNA flexibility within the context of traditional molecular evolutionary methods. My long-term research goal is a more biophysically-grounded understanding of the functional organization and evolution of the interactions between gene regulatory proteins, chromatin architectural proteins (e.g. histones) and DNA within the chromosome.
Babbitt G.A. Hanzlik C.A. Busse K.N.* 2013. Observing fluorescent probes in living cells using a low cost LED flashlight retrofitted to a common vintage light microscope. In press JOURNAL OF MICROBIOLOGY AND BIOLOGY EDUCATION.
Babbitt G.A. Schulze K. V.* 2012. Codons support the maintenance of intrinsic DNA polymer flexibility over evolutionary timescales. GENOME BIOLOGY AND EVOLUTION 4(9): 870-881.
Trotta V. Cavicchi S. Guerra D. Andersen D.H. Babbitt G.A.Kristensen T.N. Pedersen K.S. Loeschcke V. Pertoldi C. 2011. Allometric and non-allometric consequences of inbreeding on Drosophila melanogaster wings. BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY 102:626-634.
Babbitt G.A. Cotter C.R.* 2011. Functional conservation of nucleosome formation selectively biases presumably neutral molecular variation in yeast genomes. GENOME BIOLOGY AND EVOLUTION 3:15-22
Babbitt G.A. 2011. Chromatin Evolving. Despite our long familiarity with the chromosome, much about its function and evolution remains a mystery. AMERICAN SCIENTIST 99(1): 48-55. (Cover Feature Article) reprinted in INVESTIGACION Y CIENCIA (Spanish language edition of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN)
Babbitt G.A. 2010. Relaxed selection against accidental binding of transcription factors with conserved chromatin contexts. GENE 466: 43-48.
Babbitt G.A. Tolstorukov M.Y. and Kim Y. 2010.The molecular evolution of nucleosome positioning through sequence-dependent deformation of the DNA polymer.Special issue - current perspective in nucleosome positioning. JOURNAL OF BIOMOLECULAR STRUCTURE AND DYNAMICS 27(6):765-780.
Kim Y., Lee J.H., and Babbitt G.A.2010.The enrichment of TATA box and the scarcity of depleted-proximal-nucleosome in the promoters of duplicated yeast genes. JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR EVOLUTION 70(1):69-73.
Babbitt C.W., Kahhat R., Williams E. and Babbitt G.A., 2009. Evolution of product lifespan and its role in the environmental assessment and management of products: a case study of personal computers in higher education. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, 43(13): 5106-5112.
Babbitt G.A. and Kim Y. 2008.Inferring natural selection on fine-scale chromatin organization in yeast. MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND EVOLUTION 25: 1714-1727.
Babbitt G.A. 2008. How accurate is the phenotype? An analysis of developmental noise in a cotton aphid clone.BMC DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY 8:19 (1-9 pp).
Babbitt G.A. and Frederick P.C. 2008.Phenology of body mass changes during reproduction in a nomadic, tropical waterbird, the Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimusruber). ZOO BIOLOGY 27:360-370.
Babbitt G.A. and Frederick P.C. 2007. Selection for bill dimorphism in ibises: an evaluation of hypotheses. WATERBIRDS. 30: 199-206.
Babbitt G.A. 2006. Inbreeding reduces power law scaling in the distribution of fluctuating asymmetry: an explanation of the basis of developmental instability. HEREDITY 97: 258-268.
Babbitt G.A., Kiltie R., and Bolker B. 2006. Are fluctuating asymmetry studies adequately sampled? Implications of a new model for size distribution. AMERICAN NATURALIST 167: 230-245.
Babbitt G.A. 1996. The effect of collection size on reproduction in captive Caribbean flamingos: direct stimulation, social facilitation or random chance? Proceedings of the AZA Western Regional Conference, Denver, CO.
Babbitt G.A. 1995. Seasonality and captive management of the Marabou Stork. Proceedings of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association Great Lakes Regional Conference, Louisville, KY.
Burtt E.H., Chow W., and Babbitt G.A*. 1991.The occurrence and demography of mites in Tree Swallow, House Wren and Eastern Bluebird nests.In Bird-Parasite Interactions, J.E. Loye and M. Zuk, Eds. Oxford Ornithology Series, Oxford University Press.
* undergraduate students